Animal Kingdom in January & the recent crowd calendar update

We are going in late January and we saw our Animal Kingdom days spike to 8s (one of them was previously a 2!). I’m not concerned about wait times- I have fastpasses and I stick to my touring plans. My concern is mainly viewing the animal exhibits.

To me, crowds in AK can really impact my experiences because AK is all about atmosphere, wandering around, and looking at all the animals. With more people, the paths are crowded and the experience is far less enjoyable.

In the recent blog post associated with this update, it was indicated that the increases for January might be partially due to lower ride capacity/staffing. So…is it just the wait times going up then? Should I rearrange my reservations/fastpasses, etc…to avoid those 8s? Will the crowds still be manageable?

Have you had issues at AK before?

Yes. When I’ve gone in late January (the past few years), things have been fine. However, I went on an unexpected trip to AK in late September of this year (just one day because I was in the area for other reasons) and I found the number of people on the paths quite overwhelming. I made the best of it because bonus AK trip- can’t complain, but I would’ve been upset if it was a trip I had been planning for.

I noticed the same thing. The crowd levels have shot up as much as 6 points for the mid to end of January at multiple days and parks. Some additional info on this kind of change so close to a trip would be helpful.
Looking at my individual plans I would have expected wait times to reflect this increase but I don’t notice much in this area.
Kind of confused in how to understand these crowd level changes…

Received this response to my comment on the blog post:

“The crowd levels only indicate the relative wait times at the core attractions, not to the attendance in the park. So, it is unlikely that you will see a similar jump in the density of people on the paths and trails. It will be more crowded for sure, but the change won’t be as drastic as the crowd level change makes it seem.”

I feel much better now.

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Are there any days during your trip where AK isn’t 8-10? I’m late January as well and we’re going on 8 and 9 days, but there isn’t anything lower than 8 during my trip. And at this point, I don’t think there would be enough FP availability for you to switch anyway.
I’m hoping the CL change is associated with the staffing/current FP availability thoughts and not a sudden increase of the actual people in the park.

So, AK is at a 4 on one of my Hollywood Studios days. If I switch one of my AK days with that HS day, my FOP FP and my Slinky FP would not be impacted (they are on the other days). So far, I’ve had no problem rearranging other FP for our trip. I’d have to change reservations though- Tiffin’s for AK (should be easy) and 50’s at HS (more worried about that one).

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Use the Reservation Finder tool to help out here. It has yet to fail me, even with some of the more difficult reservations.

I second this. We made our hotel reservation after the 180 day window. The one thing my wife was insistent on was BOG lunch. I used the reservation finder, and got multiple notifications for BOG. I grabbed the first one, and then was able to modify it until I got the time I wanted.

Only thing to keep in mind is that if it notifies you of a reservation availability, it will stop notifying you of reservations in the future unless you go back and refresh.

I had the same question. Today I got emails that some of our Feb 1 & 2 parks were going from 5s to 8 & 9 on the crowd level scale.

What is going on late Jan/Early Feb?

Is my Crowd Calendar not updated or something? I’m going Jan 25-Feb 1. AK days on Tues and Friday that week with CL’s at 5 for both days. The highest CL for AK during my week is 8… the rest are all lower.

This post is from last January.

LOL. Amazing. Guess it just got bumped and I assumed it was current :wink: